Who? Brian Addlestone, 53, commercial litigation partner at Leeds firm Addlestone Keane.
Why is he in the news? He acted in the Supreme Court for members of the Sikh community in Britain who are seeking to replace the trustees of three Gurdwaras (temples) in Bradford, Birmingham and High Wycombe.
After the deaths of his predecessors, the First and Second Holy Saints, Sant Jeet Singh succeeded to the office of Third Holy Saint in July 2003. Upon his succession, the three Gurdwaras came under his guardianship and he chose to dismiss the existing trustees, the respondents, and replace them with Addlestone’s clients, the appellants.
The respondents refused to leave and the case came before the High Court, which ruled in the appellants’ favour. However, the Court of Appeal allowed the respondents’ appeal, holding that the issue turned on religious beliefs that were not justiciable in English courts.
On 11 June, the Supreme Court allowed the appeal, ruling that the issues should all go to trial, on the grounds that the dispute was focused more on the ownership and control of property held on trust than religious beliefs.
Thoughts on the case: ‘Most case law around religious disputes involves discrimination, and what is or is not justiciable rarely comes up. It is also unusual for the Supreme Court to overturn the Court of Appeal.’
Why become a lawyer? ‘My brothers were following in my father’s footsteps as doctors, so I decided to become a lawyer. I found litigation, with its deadlines and creative solutions, particularly interesting.’
Career high: ‘Taking this case to the Supreme Court. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience – our small firm and the country’s biggest legal brains.’
Career low: ‘I was an articled clerk in a small criminal law firm when a woman came in for advice. When I gave her the green legal aid form to complete, she calmly set it alight with her cigarette lighter. I can only suppose she was unhappy with the advice I had given her.’